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Huffing: Parents and Kids Beware

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Huffing: Parents and Kids BewareIts called "huffing" and it kills. Children as young as 12 years of age are doing it and many are either dying or causing themselves irreparable brain damage.

"Young people sniff products such as refrigerant from air conditioning units, aerosol computer cleaners, shoe polish, glue, air fresheners, hair sprays, nail polish, paint solvents, degreasers, gasoline or lighter fluids. Youngsters intentionally inhale these substances to get high. Most parents are not aware that use of inhalants can cause "Sudden Sniffing Death," or immediate death due to cardiac arrest, or it can lead to addiction and other health risks."

Parents need to be alert because this tragedy is happening in best of homes with what appears to be the greatest stability. Once its too late, parents report that their child appeared glassy eyed, dull, strange and had an odor.

Children are not aware of the risks associated with huffing including the fact that death can and does occur abruptly.

By the way, in case you believe this is a rare occurrence, the U.S. Government reports that the percentage of twelve year olds using inhalants is greater than those using alcohol and with the combination of inhalants, alcohol and prescription drug abuse, the U.S. is facing a grim problem.

Information is available at the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition and can be found at: http://www.inhalants.org/

Your comments and questions are strongly encouraged.